Over the past year, I have improved upon my trailer skirting. I knew I wanted it to be inexpensive, easy-on, easy-off, and compact enough to be easily portable. I think I have finally hit on a working combination. Here is how I made my current Portable Trailer Skirt.
When we got the Minnie, we started off with foam board and heat lamps. This necessitated being hooked up to electricity to run the heat lamps. My new skirt keeps the salt-water charged waste tanks thawed down to zero. Then it’s time for some supplemental heat down there. Or preferably a move to warmer temps.
My trailer measures 8’ x 26’ plus the tongue, which holds the house battery and 2 propane tanks. I figured I might want the tarps to wrap around those as well, so I estimated a
length of 80 feet, just to have some wiggle room. I cut the tarp into 5 strips measuring 3’ x 20’. To do this, I had to open it up outside. There was snow on the ground at the
time, so the tarp stayed fairly clean. I had my son stand on it to help hold it down and help fold up each piece as we went. We also used rocks to help hold the tarp down as I
2. Sewing on the bubble wrap.
The bubble wrap was only 12” wide, so I had to sew 3 tiers onto each strip of tarp. This was the most tedious part of the project. I was also concerned that it would be hard on
my sewing machine, but it did fine. I had to clean the tarp dust out frequently and had to be careful not to catch the presser foot on the bubble wrap, but otherwise, it was
straight seams and easing the bulk through the machine.
3. Black paint.
After sewing on all the bubble wrap, the next step was to paint the outside of the skirting black. This is to absorb more sun and help retain the heat around the trailer. It is very
windy where we usually are, so I had to wait for a still day to get the paint to stick to the tarps instead of floating away.
We first tried attaching the tarp with velcro, but the wind made short work of that. We also found the addition of Reflectix insulation to be a major factor in keeping the temps under the trailer more stable. First, we stand the Reflectix around the perimeter of the trailer. Over that goes the portable trailer skirt.
I looked at what other people were doing with trailer skirts and liked the idea of attaching it with turn buttons. Amazon had them listed so I ordered 2 dozen and my son-in-law helped me to install them. I put the grommets on my tarp and attached it to the trailer turn buttons. It stayed on perfectly, but I now discovered that I needed to seal up the loose ends. This was a much better use of the velcro and keeps the wind from whipping the skirt up and blowing the Reflectix away.
Finally, around all this, we place our heavy tent weights, our extra sewer tank, and propane tank just for extra insurance in case the wind blows. If the temps dip below zero or stay below 30F for several days we still have to break out the heat lamps, but the skirting is doing its job and helping us stay warm and cozy.
And the best part about the Portable Trailer Skirt is that it comes off easy, rolls right up (both the skirt and the Reflectix), and stows away in the back of the truck or in the basement when it’s not needed.
The 2014 movie Pompeii is great historical fiction. I have found movies to be a great tool to use in the homeschool. Especially historical fiction.
Pompeii got the boy and me (and his older brother!) discussing the AD79 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. We talked about how volcanoes work. We discussed other events of the era. The persecution of the early Christians. The historian Pliny the Younger, who witnessed the event from his Uncle Pliny the Elder’s villa across the Bay of Naples.
The boys, of course, were fascinated by the whole gladiator thing. I love to scrutinize the costumes and settings. And so many ways to die as a volcano erupts. Even though we knew the real ending, we couldn’t help but hope for survivors.
Despite the goofs in period accuracy and geography, we enjoyed Pompeii. It made for good discussion and fun escape.
Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind is a fun read, rather like the tradition of James Herriot and Tom Dooley. The book follows Australian missionary Dr. Paul White on his daily adventures. As a physician to tribal peoples in Tanzania, Africa, navigating mud tracks, surviving violent whirlwind dust storms, and battling a dysentery epidemic are all in a day’s work.
Dr. White passes on biblical principles in his daily practice through fables and story telling. His faithful friend and assistant, Daudi, also serves as his interpreter with the natives. The doctor performs surgery and treats patients in the most primitive conditions. As a result, he faces off against witch doctors and drug lords.
White’s narrative style hooks the reader and rivets him until the final page. Thankfully, there are several more books in the series, so readers can satisfy their need to hear more Jungle Doctor adventures.
I enjoy the way narrator Paul Michael reads with distinct and clear character voices. Yet he is easy to listen to. Of the 29 Jungle Doctor books written by Paul White, Christian Audio has 4 of them in audiobook. Each book runs about 2-3 hours. Priced at $10.98, Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind is great for family listening, car rides, and storytime. Produced in audiobook form for Christian Audio (c)2012.
Thanks to Christian Audio for providing me with a free review copy of this audiobook. No other compensation was received for this review.
Somewhere in the last month I read an article about a 40 books reading challenge. A teacher had challenged her class to read 40 books for the school year. The theory is that this will foster a love of reading. It sounded like a good idea. I did a quick search so I could let you know where I first read about it and I discovered that this challenge has been around a long time.
Yak has reading assignments for school, but he does not really enjoy them, and he gets through them as quickly and minimally as possible.
There is much discussion and many variations on the 40 book challenge, but I kept ours simple. My goals are to get the boy reading for pleasure again, and expand his teenage mind beyond video games. With this in mind, we set some ground rules:
There will be a bigger prize at the 1/2 way mark (20 books read). This is not decided yet, but may involve pizza, a special dinner out, a trip to a trampoline park, or some other excursion.
There will be a grand prize when the goal of 40 books read is reached. Disneyland is a possibility, or maybe a water park. Not for sure there yet, either.
A journal must be kept, documenting:
name of book
how well he liked it
main points he noticed
So far he is on track with a book a week, and well on the way to his first prize. I am enjoying our book discussions (I try to read what he is reading) and they also help me to determine whether he is actually reading!
The Humanure Handbook, (c)2005 (3rd Edition) by Joseph Jenkins
I tried a homemade composting toilet years ago, but I didn’t have the whole picture of what to do with the “waste”. The Humanure Handbook, (c)2005 (3rd Edition) by Joseph Jenkins, gives concise, complete instructions. It also offers supporting information about sanitary practices, composting times, and materials to use. He highly recommends sawdust.
Mr. Jenkins has been using sawdust toilets for decades. He has researched and collected data on the safety, sanitation, and practicality of sawdust toilets. “The Humanure Handbook” began as his thesis for a Master’s degree in Sustainable Systems. He presents detailed information on pathogens, parasites and other critters present in human waste vs. properly cured compost.
I cannot stand the stench or dust of cat litter, so we have been using feline pine with our new kitty. The odor is pleasant and masks the odor of cat waste better than clay litter. It also lasts much longer. It consists of 100% compressed sawdust pellets, with no chemicals or other additives. The pellets absorb moisture and break back down into sawdust, so I can add it to the compost pile.
I am also looking for options for the trailer. The handy fold up toilet is nice, but the bowl is cracked and I cannot get replacement parts for it. Instead of epoxy sealing it, I am going with a sawdust toilet in there, as the gray/black water tank is only about 10 gallons. I also like the composting toilet because it never gets clogged, which happens quite frequently with the water flush toilet.
If you are investigating off-grid options for toilets, looking for more ways to conserve water, or just plain fascinated with why someone would even consider such an option, check out the Humanure Handbook and website. They have a “pile” of information on the subject!
I did not get any compensation for this review.
Handmade Soaps and Lotions; Simple Living, Slow Travel; Homeschooling, Roadschooling